Single Again And Loving It

Newly divorced and dateless this V-Day? Here are 10 ways to live it up.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Newly divorced and dateless this V-Day? Here are 10 ways to live it up.

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1. You get to do what you want, when you want

Want to take a year off to travel? Dream about starting your own business? Feel like blowing your pay cheque on new designer furniture? Go right ahead. “These are some of the things I would’ve discussed with my husband during our five-year marriage,” says teacher Jessica Lim, 36. “Now that I’m single again, I’m no longer tied down. I have the power to make such decisions on my own.”

2. You can rediscover yourself

Now that you are making decisions based on your own needs and wants rather than as a couple, it might al low you to rediscover what you’re about, says Ho Shee Wai, psychologist and director of The Counselling Place. “This encourages you to look inward and think about what makes you happy and fulfilled, which lets you learn new things about yourself.” 

3. You have time to pursue your passions

When you’re married, much of your time and energy is devoted to your spouse. But being single frees you up to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, says Shee Wai. “So if you choose to, you can devote entire weekends to learning to play a musical instrument, for instance, without having to worry about rushing home to your spouse.”

4. You can hang out with your guy friends

“My ex-husband didn’t like it when I invited my close guy pals over or went to the movies with them,” says financial planner Melissa*, 38, who was married for six years. “These friends, many of whom I’d known since childhood, posed no threat to my ex, yet he didn’t let me spend time with them. Now that I’m newly single, I don’t have to feel bad about travelling, eating or working out with my male buddies. You don’t know what that kind of freedom means until it’s taken away from you.”

5. You can check out and flirt with other guys

You wouldn’t have got away with this while you were married. Now, you can freely express your appreciation for a hot neighbour or stranger, and don’t have to feel guilty about checking out men in public or crushing on a cute colleague either, says Shee Wai.

6. You feel emotionally free

Linda*, a 41-year-old hotel PR executive, shares: “My ex-husband was a moody guy. Now that we’re divorced, I don’t have to tread on eggshells anymore or worry that he might have a fit if I said or did something he didn’t like. All that petty squabbling was unnecessary, not to mention stressful and exhausting. My heart feels lighter these days and I’m a lot more positive. I’m back to my old, happy self again. Even my friends have noticed the change.”

7. Every night can be a girls’ night out

You can go back to doing all the things you did with your girlfriends when you were single, like having rom-com marathons, gossiping into the night, going for ladies’ night in bars and staying till closing. Being single means you can get in touch with that side of yourself again, which may help deepen the bond with your girlfriends, says Shee Wai. 

8. There are fewer expectations to live up to

“When I was married, my family and in-laws expected me to behave in a certain way and carry out what they considered my wifely duties,” shares Jacqueline Koh, a 40-year-old stylist. “I felt pressured to be someone I was not and even felt like I was letting them down by not behaving like a traditional wife. For instance, I was expected to accompany my husband to corporate functions, cook his meals, not argue with him and allow him to make all the big decisions. It was oppressive! I was married for four years and have been divorced for a year now – it feels liberating to not have to pretend to be someone else.” 

9. You are clearer about what you want in a relationship

“I got married at 25,” says Chantal*, a 35-year-old music teacher. “At the time, I had no idea what it meant to be married, let alone what I wanted in a life partner. During my six years of marriage, I discovered that my husband and I wanted different things; most of my needs went unmet. Now that I’m single, I have a clearer picture of what a good marriage looks and feels like. Hopefully, the next time around, I will pick someone who’s more compatible with me.”

10. There’s less money stress

You don’t have to account for your expenses or worry about having to take on your husband’s debts. Sandy Koh, a 40-year-old teacher, recalls how money woes added to the stress of her eight-year marriage. “Most of my pay went to bills – or rather to my ex-husband’s bills, because he wasn’t earning much. I barely had any spending money for myself and I couldn’t make big purchases without checking with him first. Now, all the money I make is mine to keep.”

*Names have been changed.

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In 2015, the number of divorces and annulments n Singapore hit 7,522, up 2.9 per cent from the ear before, based on a uly 2016 report by the Department of Statistics.